Sunnier Side of the Office

Facebook Overhauls Newsfeed Again, Affecting Brands and Publishers

The biggest news last week in media circles was Facebook’s plan to make big changes to its news feed. The move is set to affect both brands and publishers, as the company plans to prioritize posts by people’s friends rather than publishers’ and companies’ posts, including video. CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a post announcing the change Thursday: “We’ve gotten feedback from our community that public content—posts from businesses, brands and media—is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other.” Zuckerberg noted that engagement and time spent on Facebook will likely go down, but he expects that time spent on the platform will be “more valuable.”

This all comes, of course, after Facebook was scrutinized post-election for the distribution of fake news articles, which were often fabricated or extremely hyperpartisan stories.

Publishers are bracing for an impact on their traffic. For the last few years, Facebook has been deprioritizing clickbait headlines, but the New York Times called this update “the most significant overhaul in years,” noting that over the next few weeks, Facebook users will see less viral videos and articles shared by media companies.

Digiday reported that Facebook told publishers “it will favor content that’s shared by users or otherwise actively engaged with. The thinking goes, according to those briefed, that Facebook believes prioritizing content that’s acted on will reduce the occurrence of fake and offensive content in the news feed.” Publishers worry, though, that legitimate articles may not surface on the news feed if people don’t comment on them enough.

For brands, it will likely impact engagement as users see fewer organic posts from brands — though again, organic reach has been in decline for years. It could prompt marketers to invest more in paid posts on Facebook, and the Wall Street Journal noted media buyers are already expecting ad prices to increase in light of this change.

“It’s simple mathematics for a display business: Less time on Facebook and fewer ads can only mean that the ads that do show are more expensive,” Paul Mead, chairman of London-based media agency VCCP Media, part of our parent agency VCCP, told WSJ.

Google To Vet Premium YouTube Videos Amid More Content Concerns

Google is planning to better vet top-tier YouTube videos that it bundles for Advertisers, Bloomberg reported. The move will better filter YouTube videos that are part of Google Preferred, its platform of YouTube videos that Google sells to marketers are higher prices, as concerns over inappropriate content running alongside brand ads continue.

Since last year, advertisers and observers have complained about inappropriate and sometimes exploitive videos involving children, as well as popular YouTube stars like Logan Paul, whose debacle in Japan we wrote about last week.

According to Bloomberg, “Google told partners that it plans to use both human moderators — the company recently announced it will have 10,000 employees focused on the task — as well as artificial intelligence software to flag videos deemed inappropriate for ads.”

5 Takeaways on AR and VR from CES 2018

By Ben Shapiro

With CES 2018 in the books, marketers are buzzing about the tech trends for the coming year. One of those trends is the growth of augmented and virtual reality. Ad Age outlined 5 things they learned in Las Vegas about the current state of these immersive formats. While VR has been a staple at CES for a few years now, it appears AR is primed for a big boost.

  1. Because of the technology currently available to everyday users, there are higher barriers to entry for VR. AR, on the other hand, already presents a tangible value to consumers, whether it’s Pokémon Go or Wayfair’s home décor preview tool.

  2. Because immersive video is unlike any format to come before it, the direction it will take is difficult to project.

  3. The growth of immersive video will be driven by advancing mobile computing power. Though developing rapidly, contemporary technology is not built to maximize the potential of AR and VR. Soon enough, the average user will have access to a device that supports seamless integration of and more powerful uses for immersive formats.

  4. Though tech represents a pivotal factor in AR/VR development, quality content will also be key to mainstream adoption.

  5. As AR/VR is a new video format, advertising norms have yet to be set. First movers in the virtual space will have the advantage of helping to set these standards.

This Week In Social: Snapchat User Data Leaked

REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

By Jessica Gaylord

Snapchat has always held its cards close regarding internal operations and data, giving only overarching statistics on daily active users since going public in March 2017. New reporting from The Daily Beast, however, reveals possible reasons why CEO Evan Spiegel has kept so quiet.

The report combs through months of confidential daily active user (DAU) metrics for every feature of the app, ultimately revealing that Snapchat is more of a chat app than a nascent social media platform. The data also reveals that many of its once-hyped features, like Snap Maps and Discover, saw a sharp decline in daily active users post-launch.

These numbers could help explain why Snapchat is planning on a major app redesign—the most significant since the app’s launch in 2011.

The report also paints a dim picture of the company’s culture, which is shrouded in secrecy and leaves many non-engineering teams in the dark on most aspects of Snapchat’s latest features.




Sunnier Side of the Office

Amazon Expected to Grow Advertising Through Alexa in 2018

 By Katharine Painter 

It’s no secret that Amazon has been dominating the ecommerce space for a while now. Because of that dominance, it’s somewhat surprising that the company’s digital advertising revenue ranks 5th among all U.S. companies. In late December, CNBC reported that Amazon has plans to increase digital ad revenue in 2018 by 42%. One of the ways they’re expected to grow ad revenue is through their Alexa-enabled devices.

Currently, the only advertisements on the Amazon Echo are within the skills that a user downloads. Amazon is currently exploring alternative advertising options on the Echo including:

  • Promoted search

  • Targeting consumers based on previous purchases

  • Tapping into additional Alexa skills

In the previous Sunnier Side of the Office, we named the rise of AI and AI-based products as a trend that will shape marketing in 2018. With Amazon being the largest player in the space (the Echo makes up 70% of the voice-enabled speaker market according to eMarketer), it makes sense that this would be a large development in increasing ad revenue. The exponential growth of these devices poses a great opportunity for brands to reach qualified consumers in their own homes and as new ad formats become available, many brands will be quick to hop on board.

ESPN’s New Pitch to Advertisers: ‘We Reach Women’

ESPN and other sports properties have long been used by advertisers to reach men. But ESPN, now that it’s got new data about its viewers, is more aggressively selling its female audience, starting with the College Football Playoff.

From WSJ: “ESPN’s sales pitch is an extension of its new marketing strategy to broaden its audience, with the aim of giving a boost to ratings and subscribers. The effort comes as ESPN grapples with a shift from traditional TV viewing to online consumption, leading to cord-cutting and subscriber losses. The network also recently announced that John Skipper resigned as its president, citing substance-abuse issues.”

Era of Peak TV Continues With 487 Scripted Shows in 2017

Do you find yourself having a hard time keeping up with all the new shows coming out? There’s a reason for that: The total number of scripted shows in 2017 hit 487, according to FX Networks, surpassing the previous record of 455 in 2016. Since 2012, the number of scripted shows has jumped 69% from 288 programs.

According to WSJ, “Original shows on streaming services accounted for 117 of the 487 programs last year. But the number of scripted shows also grew on broadcast television and pay-cable channels such as HBO and Showtime—up 4.8% to 153 shows and 17% to 42 shows, respectively.”

WSJ didn’t get into the exact number of how many of these shows are ad-supported. And while the number of scripted shows on broadcast has grown, the number of scripted shows available on platforms that aren’t ad-supported, like Netflix and HBO Now, is also growing.


Who Is Logan Paul?

By Melissa Santiago

If you haven’t heard the name Logan Paul in the last week, you likely haven’t spent much time on social media. His name has been inescapable and plagued with controversy. Logan Paul is a 22-year-old YouTube vlogger. He got his start on the social media platform Vine by making 6-second videos often involving physical humor or pranks. He later went on to star in and subsequently be fired from a Disney Channel show.

He is no stranger to negative press, but his antics last week could have long-lasting repercussions. He released a video on his YouTube channel making light of a suicide victim, going so far as to show the body on camera. Many fellow YouTube Creators, influencers, and celebrities spoke out against his actions.

He later Tweeted an apology that also received a negative response. The negative press about this specific video comes alongside many other problematic behaviors and accusations that have followed Logan over time. One of the biggest issues his critics have with his content, in general, is most of his devoted fans are ages 8-15 and highly impressionable. This also all comes on the heels of YouTube facing intense scrutiny for showing questionable material to young audiences and has opened a massive debate about whether social platforms are responsible for the content users upload.

M/H Sounds: November 2017


1 – Van Morrison is what everyone’s dad listens to.

2 – Alabama Shakes is a blues rock band from U-S-A.

3 – Beach House is an American dream pop band from Baltimore, Maryland.

4 – Alex Cameron is an Australian musician, singer, and songwriter.

5 – Gorillaz is an English virtual band created by musician Damon Albarn and artist Jamie Hewlett.

5 Trends That Will Shape Marketing in 2018

If you’re like us, you probably think 2017 has been a whirlwind of a year. Brand safety, Snapchat’s growing pains, and VR were all hot topics among marketers. As the year winds down, the team at M/H took a look at 5 big marketing trends that are expected to make a splash in 2018.

Artificial Intelligence

As Artificial Intelligence (AI) machine learning programs have grown, so has the rise of voice recognition. AI-based products (Amazon Echo/Alexa and Apple Home) are growing rapidly, and are increasingly becoming household names. In 2017, 20% of online searches were conducted through voice search and that number is set to increase to 50% by 2020. With more users relying on just their voice to search, marketers will have to adjust how they are currently building out their SEO strategies in 2018. Moving beyond voice recognition, AI has also led to the rise of chatbots, which will also continue to focus on a more personalized experience for consumers.

Augmented Reality

Augmented Reality (AR) is a hot-ticket item as Facebook and Snapchat grow (much of AR’s growth can be attributed to the rise of Snapchat Lenses and Facebook Stories). A recent eMarketer study found that, “AR development has plodded along in the shadows of VR. But AR has assets that VR doesn’t: It is practical, it can run on mobile devices people already own and there is little downside to trying it”. eMarketer also projects that by the end of 2019 AR users will top 54.4 million, accounting for 16.4% of the US population, or nearly one in five internet users. From extending live experiences to offering compelling interactions brands can attract consumers by developing apps that let them see products in their very own life.

Video Live-Streaming

Live-streaming has grown as an emerging trend as brands are focusing more on personalization and transparency. From live interviews to special announcements, viewers watch live-stream videos 3 times longer than pre-recorded videos. Facebook has also found that one in five of its videos viewed is live-stream. Live-streaming continues to add a layer of authenticity and allows for consumers to feel connected to the brand. As more platforms begin to explore this trend, it is set to become more defined and clear in 2018.

Programmatic OTT & CTV

Over-the-top (OTT) video and Connected TV (CTV) are both changing the way viewers consume video and television. OTT/CTV is expected to see over 193 million US users by the end of 2017 and by 2021, it’s viewer penetration will approach ¾ of all internet users. stated that “In 2018 significantly more OTT and CTV inventory will be bought and monetized programmatically. Mobile will continue to be the go-to place for advertising and consumer engagement, but growth in OTT and CTV inventory means localized advertisers will have new opportunities with highly targeted video advertising in 2018.” As OTT and CTV ramp up in 2018, it will be important for advertisers to be there, too.

Third-Party Data Verification

As important as third-party data verification is, its modeling often does not include 100% accurate information. Digiday has stated that, “Data partners are paid based on their number of transactions, and not upon their accuracy. While advertising’s tech capabilities may have gotten much more sophisticated in recent years, priorities haven’t changed as quickly.” As marketers, we are constantly on the hunt for scale, but we need to take a step back and remind our partners why this data is so important in developing our brands. We rely so heavily on this data to advance our strategies, creative messaging, and building our overall audiences, that as Haidee Hanna, VP of Marketing at Resonate stated, “we should begin to demand more out of our data partners” this coming year.

Trends come and go, but 2018 marketing strategies will come out stronger by implementing one, a few, or even all of these trends.

John Matejczyk + The One Show

John Matejczyk, Gold Pencil winnerwill be on the film jury, judging work for The One Club Show Awards for Creativity in May.
He will also lead a session titled “Riding The Wave” at The One Club’s 2018 Creative Leaders Retreat in February. As clients move from AOR to projects, from big TV to stunts, social, and low-budget video, let’s talk about how this can be a great thing for agencies. It means more production, more chances to enjoy what we do, more opportunity to make beautiful things. More of what we’ve been asking for from clients: a chance to do more R&D.

Sunnier Side of the Office

Facebook Cracks Down on ‘Engagement Bait’

Facebook is cracking down on what it calls “engagement bait”: Posts that ask users to like, share or comment on them in order to boost engagement.

From Recode: “You’ve probably seen posts like this in your feed. Like if you think cats are best. Share if you think dogs are best. It’s a tactic that publishers use to game Facebook’s algorithm, which rewards posts that get better engagement and shows them to more people.

Facebook has decided it doesn’t like publishers gaming the system this way, and claims users don’t like it either. ‘People have told us that they dislike spammy posts on Facebook that goad them into interacting with likes, shares, comments, and other actions,’ the company wrote on its blog.

Bloomberg’s TicToc 24/7 News Channel Launches on Twitter

Bloomberg today launched an around-the-clock news channel on Twitter — a move that comes as Twitter doubles down on its live video service.

“The landing page for TicToc marries a video livestream with a curated Twitter stream,” according to VentureBeat. “In essence, it combines the second-screen experience many have hacked together over the years as they watch big events like the Super Bowl or the Oscars. Live TV viewing has long been one of Twitter’s most popular use cases, and over the past year the company has sought to integrate that experience into its platform.”

This Week in Social: Trends That Will Shape Social Media in 2018


By Melissa Santiago

Instagram, Instagram, Instagram

As Instagram speeds toward 1 billion users, tests its messenger component as a stand-alone product, and continues to host top brands, top trends, and top celebrities, the platform will continue to play a key role in social marketing for 2018.

Instagram Stories is also a huge growth area, newly-released shoppable posts are gaining traction, and the platform continues to be the epicenter of the influencer content.

Ephemeral Marketing/Content

Platforms are all preparing for a big year with ephemeral “Story” based content for brands and consumers. Snapchat has opened Lens Studio, a desktop app that anyone—brands or consumers— can use to create “world” lenses for Snap.

Instagram Stories, as mentioned above, is another hotbed of content for brands, influencers, and consumers.

Hot tip for brands: the ad units available for brands in Stories can be easily skipped or ignored. The best way to get in front of your fans is to tell great stories that have been optimized, concepted and produced for the Stories platform.

Sunnier Side of the Office

2017: Year of the ‘Perilous Pivot To Video’

The lede of a story from Digiday this morning: “Suffice it to say, it’s been a terrible year for digital media companies that once dreamed of disrupting the content world, but now find themselves becoming glorified production shops at the whims of the platforms.” Well then.

That may sound harsh, but several factors have made 2017 a particularly difficult one for media companies, especially as the promise that video content was a panacea for ailing publishers didn’t exactly prove to be true.

More from Digiday: “It’s nearly impossible to build a big media business if you’re only making money through advertising; the pivot to video is costly and will fail for most companies that don’t know how to produce anything but short videos for Facebook; and consumer revenue requires building a brand that people care about, which is tougher to do when your content only appears in other people’s news feeds. “

When you have some time, take a look at Digiday’s recap of 2017 and how the pivot to video has affected the media and advertising world.

“Brand Safety 101”

By Coltin Chapman

Another big issue from 2017 was Brand safety, which came under a microscope as advertisers found their ads alongside some questionable content. (We wrote about this a couple weeks ago.) But by being conscious of where their ads appear, advertisers can avoid the risk of having their brands displayed next to harmful content. This harmful material varies from fake news to adult content, and regardless of what it is, it can all be damaging and tarnish a brand’s image. By implementing a secure brand-image strategy, marketers diminish the risk of running an ad next to a potentially hazardous topic.

Integral Ad Science (IAS) prevents brands from being displayed next to hazardous material. These tools work by categorizing content that may not be fit for a brand’s image. By using evidence-based models, data scientists are able to collect data from scanned pages and create brand-safety solutions. Using this data, services like IAS are able to provide their clients with detailed lists of potentially harmful websites. Based on these lists, pre-bid targeting options can be available to advertisers, guaranteeing brand-safe impressions even before their campaign has begun. Along with pre-bid solutions, whitelisting and blacklisting also allow advertisers to choose specific domains on which to display on or avoid entirely.

To learn more about brand safety and potential go here.

Broetry in Motion

Here’s a fun one. If you’ve been on LinkedIn recently, surely you’ve seen posts that resemble a poem in format. They’re often posted by self-identified social media mavens, growth hackers and other types of startup evangelists. They often have an inspirational tone showcasing a can-do attitude — an entrepreneurial call to arms. This format has become wildly popular on LinkedIn, but what is the name of this burgeoning art form, you ask? I introduce to thee: Broetry.

BuzzFeed’s Alex Kantrowitz and Ryan Mac dug deep into broetry lore, its origin, and even came away with some best practices for how to write a popular post. For one, it’s good old-fashioned copywriting techniques similar to what you’ll see employed on sites like ViralNova and Upworthy. But, BuzzFeed says, “there are other good broetry practices. Do not put links in the status body, said multiple broets, noting that LinkedIn seems to penalize attempts to take people off platform.”

Go here to learn more about this nascent writing style.

Genies: Will Avatars Make Teens Care About News?

By Melissa Santiago

There’s a strange new app that launched last Friday called Genies. It has users create avatars of themselves and once the avatar passes an unclear “approval” process that requires a user to link their Genie to an Instagram account, the Genies will reenact news headlines starring your avatar.

Techcrunch also reported a few questionable news “headlines” that appeared while they were testing the app including, one that “parodied the important NFL protests of racism and police brutality, featuring students ‘taking a knee’ to get out of a pop quiz.”

The founder, Akash Nigam, told Techcrunch, “if God forbid, Donald Trump bombs North Korea, you’ll see your Genie riding a nuke to North Korea.”

This hasn’t deterred several large investments firms from investing in the app as along with several high profile investors ranging from YouTube star-turned-musician, Shawn Mendes, to professional athlete Russell Westbrook.

You can create your own Genie here.

Sunnier Side of the Office

Facebook To Lift Ban on Pre-Roll Ads

Facebook is testing pre-roll video ads, an ad type it hasn’t previously offered to advertisers. This move comes after Facebook introduced Watch in August, a kind of YouTube rival where studios, celebrities and publishers create shows and try to monetize them. Facebook rolled out Watch with mid-roll videos, but now it’s set to offer pre-roll ads to Watch videos as well.

The introduction of pre-roll ads will likely be attractive to buyers, as “Advertisers like the guarantee of ads being seen at the outset of a video instead of hoping viewers reach the commercial break,” according to Ad Age.

BuzzFeed Reorganizes, Makes Staff Cuts

We recently wrote about the unprecedented disruption in the media business. Digital media companies, flush with VC investments, were for years riding high above the rest of the publishing business, but 2017 will end up being the year that logged a sort of correction in this space. A couple weeks ago, it was reported that BuzzFeed and Vice will miss revenue projections by as much as 20% this year.

Now a business-side restructuring and layoffs are afoot. BuzzFeed said last week that it’s cutting staff by 8%, laying off 100 people, mostly on the business side, according to CNBC. The move essentially helps the company realign its business to rely less on direct advertising sales.

Like many others, BuzzFeed hasn’t been able to scale its native content business as much as previously thought possible, so it recently opened its site up to something it previously eschewed: banner ads and programmatic advertising. According to Variety, “the 100 employees will largely be drawn from advertising sales and business operations, where [CEO and founder Jonah] Peretti signaled a different skill set is needed as BuzzFeed attempts to diversify beyond native advertising to other areas including e-commerce and programmatic ad sales.”

Despite these shifts, it’s important to note that BuzzFeed’s business overall is reportedly still doing very well, especially compared to other publishers.

BuzzFeed wasn’t alone in staff-cutting news. ESPN also said it was cutting 150 jobs amid subscriber losses and cord-cutting.

Report: How Organic Social Marketing Has Changed

By Michaela Fletcher

In a new report, eMarketer dug into organic social marketing and how its value has changed in recent years.

Social media was historically used as a brand-building tactic, with marketers leveraging organic posts to drive awareness and reach. When Facebook announced that it was drastically reducing the reach of organic (non-paid) posts to 2-6% of followers, brands were forced to change the way they use organic social.

Organic social has evolved, making some marketers believe that it is more valuable today than ever before. This change has brands refocusing their organic social efforts in the following ways:

  • Fostering customer relationships

  • Customer service

  • Research

  • Education

  • Developing brand personality

Check out the full report here.

What Do Whitney Houston & Mark Zuckerberg Have in Common?

By Melissa Santiago

They both believe(d) the children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way…to being active on Facebook. Until recently, Facebook required any new users to include a birthday proving that they were at least 13 years old.

They’ve now launched “Messenger Kids,” a platform, according to TechCrunch, that “lets parents download the app on their child’s phone or tablet, create a profile for them, and approve friends and family who they can text and video chat with from the main Messenger app.”

Ongoing controversies with YouTube — which we wrote about in last week’s newsletter — and a recent hack of Instagram Stories are weighing heavily on the minds of parents. Messenger Kids accounts are linked to parent Facebook accounts and will be linked to rely heavily on parental involvement and potentially providing the perfect balance of parental supervision and autonomy for the kids.

Sunnier Side of the Office

Meredith Corp. Buys Time Inc.

There’s no rest for the media business, even on a holiday weekend. The Meredith Corporation, which owns Family Circle and Better Homes and Gardens, said Sunday night that it had agreed to purchase Time Inc. in an all-cash transaction valued at nearly $3 billion. The deal went through, in part, thanks to $650 million from billionaires Charles and David Koch.

The deal is yet another sign of challenging times for the media business, particularly traditional publishers  — whose print ad and circulation revenues have declined, and with online ad revenue not pulling its weight — as tech platforms take bigger shares of the ad pie. We are witnessing unprecedented disruption for these media companies, resulting in consolidation and layoffs as they continue to grapple with the harsh realities of the digital ad ecosystem.

This is the third time that Des Moines-based Meredith was in talks with Time Inc, which publishes Time, People and Sports Illustrated. From the New York Times: “A deal between Meredith and Time Inc. fell apart in 2013 after Meredith reportedly said that it did not want to acquire some of Time Inc.’s best-known titles, including Time, Fortune and Sports Illustrated. Meredith also expressed interest in buying Time Inc. earlier this year before it walked away — in part because it could not secure sufficient financing. The Kochs helped the company overcome that problem.”

YouTube’s Ad Automation Under Microscope

Bloomberg on Friday wrote that a few advertisers pulled their advertising off YouTube after discovering some of their ads were being placed alongside videos that reportedly exploited children. Videos featuring and aimed at kids have come into the spotlight in recent weeks, though YouTube said it is addressing this issue and is taking questionable videos down, according to BuzzFeed.

While YouTube is correcting this and removing channels that provide such content, this situation isn’t completely new: YouTube faced similar scrutiny when advertisers were concerned about their ads running with political extremist videos. It’s yet another example of the challenges that brands can face when using automated ad placement on properties primarily filled with user-generated content.

From Bloomberg: “YouTube said in a statement that it’s working to improve safeguards to block this kind of content of children, including employing thousands of people who review content that’s flagged by users or an automated system.”

OTT: Delivering More Than Just a Video View

By Arthi Veeraragavan

According to eMarketer, in 2017, OTT is expected to see more than 193 million US users, up 3.2% from 2016. By 2021, it’s viewer penetration will approach 3/4 of all internet users.

So what is OTT? OTT stands for over-the-top, a marketing term used for the distribution of film and TV content via the internet – sans traditional cable or satellite service. Providers include Roku, Fire TV, Hulu, etc.

When it comes to OTT viewing behavior, more than 90% of Americans under 65 watch programming with other people. This is referred to as “co-viewing.”

The Interactive Advertising Bureau recently released a report showing how co-viewing can spark conversation and shape perceptions of a brand:

– 56% of respondents talk about the products/brands shown

– 45% of respondents say they would change someone else’s mind about products/brands shown

– 41% of respondents discuss the products/brands on social networks

– 36% of respondents say it’s possible to change their mind about a product/brand shown

All of these metrics are higher than for those that co-view linear TV.

Higher engagement and lower cost commitment compared to linear TV, as well as increasing audience sizes, make OTT a valuable investment for brands that want to be seen on the biggest screen in the house.

Download the full IAB study here.

Fast Food Twitter Beef Continues

By Melissa Santiago

This week, the twitter drama saga between fast food chains continues. Wendy’s is no stranger to attention on Twitter with several big moments earlier this year. Burger King in October a jab at Wendy’s this year by promoting negative Tweets about Wendy’s.

This time around, McDonald’s sent out what at first glance seems to be a posting mistake, and Wendy’s took the opportunity to roast them for their simple mistake. Of course, Twitter noticed, but the question was whether the tweet wasn’t a mistake and was part of the McDonald’s plan all along.

As a social media professional, I’m guessing McDonald’s posted their “mistake” on purpose in order to set up a follow-up Tweet about how integral coffee is to function at work or in life. Less likely, but also possible, is McDonald’s hoping a competitor would call it out and drive attention to McDonald’s posts and boosting their earned media coverage. Clever plan — until it backfires. Looks like Wendy’s wins this round as the headlines are all about  Wendy’s. Better luck next time, McDonald’s.



Sunnier Side of the Office

Axios Raises $20 Million for Newsroom Expansion, Product Development

It may be less than a year old, but media startup Axios is already considered a bright spot in an otherwise difficult media landscape. Last week, the startup said it raised another $20 million in funding to help expand coverage areas, support product development and expand its capacity for data analysis.

Axios, launched in January by Politico alumni Jim VandeHei and Roy Schwartz, aims to reach executives with a mix of business and politics news. VandeHei said at launch that much of digital media is “broken” and that banner ads and long-form branded content can be a challenge to monetize in the long run. Instead, Axios focuses on short-form native ads appearing alongside bite-size bits of hard news and analysis.

The latest round of funding for Axios comes as both traditional and digital media companies are working to plot growth in a relatively uncertain environment. Last week, in particular, had a flurry of reported media deals and revenue challenges. Digiday has a compelling story today about the digital media world, calling much of last week’s news a “pivot to reality” after years of lofty valuations.

Facebook Launches App for Creators and Influencers

As the influencer space continues to grow, Facebook is rolling out a new app to help creators manage their content and connect with followers. The app called the Facebook Creator App, “will give internet stars a place to create and edit videos, film live, message with followers and track stats about their videos,” according to Ad Age.

More from Ad Age: “Fidji Simo, Facebook’s director of product, wrote in a blog post that she had been meeting with creators like YouTube personality Markian Benhamou and Jay Mendoza, a Facebook comedy creator. ‘While they have very diverse needs and goals, they all shared how important it is for them to have tools to nurture their community,’ Simo said.”

YouTube and Ticketmaster Team up to Help Connect Artists and Fans

By Katie McKinley

YouTube and Ticketmaster have partnered to bring music fans everything they love in one place: YouTubers can now purchase tickets to upcoming concerts as they watch music videos both within desktop and mobile environments.

According to a YouTube blog post, “YouTube’s massive fan base paired with Ticketmaster’s global roster of concerts and security of verified tickets means we can easily connect a fan’s discovery of music on YouTube to their ability to purchase concert tickets.”

The integration is a natural fit for YouTube since music videos are consistently part of the most played content on the platform, which has over 1.5 billion monthly visitors.

Ticketmaster is also integrated with Spotify and Facebook to drive ticket sales, so while this is not an exclusive partnership for YouTube, it will be a key way for YouTube to become an even larger force within the music category.

The new feature is available now for artists who have upcoming shows in North America, but will eventually expand worldwide.

This Week in Social: Twitter Confirms Tweetstorm Feature Coming

By Melissa Santiago

Twitter has confirmed rumors that it is indeed testing a “Tweetstorm” feature. What exactly is a Tweetstorm? Merriam Webster—yes, a legitimate dictionary defines Twitter terms—describes it as, “a series of related tweets posted by a Twitter user in quick succession.” Tweetstorm tweets usually begin with a number so readers can keep up with the sequence.

Twitter has not given an official release date for the feature but did confirm to TechCrunch that it’s testing the feature with a few users.

Twitter often creates features based on how their platform is being used natively. Allowing users to reply to Tweets with @username and the use of hashtags were behaviors started by the community that have grown into vital pieces of how people use the platform. Unless you’re one of the lucky few selected to test the feature, you’ll still need to carefully begin each submission to your Tweetstorm with 1/3, 2/3, 3/3 and keep count.